"Upsetting errors after a miscarriage at Durham "

About: University Hospital Of North Durham / Gynaecology

(as the patient),

The staff at University Hospital, Durham were lovely and attentive when it was unexpectedly discovered my baby had died during a scan. But it went downhill after that. They gave me a leaflet which supposedly explained everything to do with the procedure, but I later found out by accident (through a forum) that actually there was more to the pre op procedures, one of which I absolutely could not face having due to it not working before - and it had never been mentioned at all. I then had to wait 3 days until I saw a doctor to discuss whether I could go ahead without this part, which was unsettling and upsetting.

I went in to be talked through the procedure a few days later and was kept waiting an hour, which happens in hospitals - but they have put the waiting room at the end next to the postnatal ward. After an hour of listening to newborns cry I was crying myself :o( The doctor I saw went through the procedure but completely neglected to tell me to go nil by mouth for surgery the next morning!

On the day I arrived, my obs were taken in full view, in the waiting area (with the newborns crying again - I did mention it to several staff, they said they would feed that back, nobody had said it before - I don't believe that! Surely it's common sense?). A student nurse went through the theatre checklist - then offered me a drink!! I had to point out this was not a good idea. She was nice enough, but clearly not ready to be unsupervised yet. I was handed a gown in an office and told I could change there or 'next door' - I had to ask where my bed was going to be and suggest I change there!

Obviously I was upset, so for the nurse to then come in, with me sobbing away with a tissue, the response I expected was not 'are you crying or taking off your makeup?'. She then asked why I was upset?! She was convinced it was the surgery and seemed to have no sympathy for the fact we had just lost a child at nearly 11 weeks.

I found the gown very strange, it didn't meet and the tie was in the middle. It was impossible to climb onto a trolley with dignity and there was a bunch of people in the waiting area where they tried to get me to do this! When I went up for surgery the reason became clear - the anaesthetic nurse was rather cross, saying she had told the nurse with the last lady that these were dressing gowns we had been given, worn backwards! The nurse had simply said 'it's all we've got' - and ignored the suggestion to get more! She then checked the theatre list and said 'hmm, this 'no' here - is that to medical students or to photographs?'. I was stunned. Photos had NOT been mentioned and I was shocked that this effectively could have happened without my consent because the student nurse who had gone through the list clearly had not filled it out properly.

On discharge I had another student nurse who simply enquired if I had paracetamol at home and had all my possessions back, then sent me on my way - no advice whatsoever.

The anaesthetist was fantastic, listened to my concerns and acted on them, and he has my thanks. The anaesthetic nurse was also lovely. But she clearly didn't realise I was awake when having discussions with colleagues about the weird dreams they have - including several including pregnancy. Not the most sensitive discussion to wake up to...

As you can see, a catalogue of upsetting and in some cases humiliating errors - ALL of which I think could have been avoided with some common sense and some empathy. I hope I never have to go near that ward again.

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